Defying categories as an artist and as a woman Kennedy fought to create her own

Defying categories as an artist and as a woman

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that artists of her day were only beginning to explore. Defying categories as an artist and as a woman, Kennedy fought to create her own space, making way for women writers who reject convention and continue to evolve theatre. Setting The scene is a New York subway is the Tower of London is a Harlem hotel room is St. Peter's. The scene is shaped like a subway car. Characters She/Clara Passmore/Virgin Mary/Bastard/Owl Bastard’s Black Mother/Reverend’s Wife/Anne Boleyn Goddam Father/Richest White Man In The Town/Dead White Father/Reverend Passmore The White Bird/Reverend Passmore’s Canary/ God’s Dove The Negro Man Chaucer Shakespeare William the Conqueror About the Playwright: Adrienne Kennedy From Black Theatre USA: Plays by African Americans Edited by James V. Hatch and Ted Shine Born in Pittsburgh in 1931, Kennedy’s father was a social worker, her mother a school teacher. When she was four, the family moved to Cleveland. She attended unsegregated, predominantly Jewish schools. Upon graduation, she enrolled at Ohio State University, lived in a segregated dormitory, and suffered racial ridicule on campus. As a major in psychiatric social work, she never studied theatre. Two weeks after graduation, she married. At age twenty- two, while pregnant with her first child, she wrote her first play. She followed her husband to Africa and then to Rome where, in 1961, she began Funnyhouse of a Negro. When they returned to New York, she joined Edward Albee’s workshop at Circle in th e Square Theatre, where her play received a workshop production. In January, Edward Albee produced Funnyhouse Off Broadway. The play shared an Obie Award (1964) with Dutchman by LeRoi Jones, as the best Off Broadway play. Many helpful clues to interpret her symbolism can be found by studying Ms. Kennedy’s other plays. Her three best -known one-act plays Funnyhouse of a Negro , The Rat’s Mass , and The Owl Answers all center around a young girl who is torn between the paradoxes of Spirit and Flesh, Black and White, Past and Present. New York Times critic Ben Brantley [said of Kennedy] “She is unmistakably the real thing: a strong utterly individual voice in American theater.”
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Dutchman and The Owl Answers ©2016 Penumbra Theatre Company 22 DESCENT AS TRANSCENDENCE Director’s Statement on The Owl Answers by Talvin Wilks My plays are meant to be states of mind. -Adrienne Kennedy During the rehearsal process for The Owl Answers , Adrienne Kennedy launched into an incredible email exchange with me. The exchanges were filled with thoughts, expressions, key information, and ended with one breathtaking passage - “Racial. Hatred now. today I feel more than ever RACIAL HATRED AND its marks its wounds I can't see them and it is very disturbing very disturbed. today Feb 2016 by the seen and unseen. wounds of Racial Hatred” I took that message to heart. It is important to look at the play in the context of today, our very race obsessed, “post - racial” state of affairs and the “seen and unseen” impact of racial wounds. Although, The Owl Answers is meant to be surreal, fantastic, and hallucinatory, it is also meant to be human. It is filled with human fears, fears
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  • Spring '08
  • Dominguez

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